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Part of the opacity of visual art for so many people is that each work of art functions as a statement in the long conversation of art making, responding to what has come before by expanding upon or critiquing or subverting it. To walk into an exhibition can be like walking into the middle of a conversation that doesn’t make sense unless you know who’s talking and what was said earlier or know the language that’s being spoken, though some artworks speak directly and stand alone.

Rebecca Solnit, The Faraway Nearby


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